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Takase Friends・高瀬の友だち










There's only about a month left before we harvest this year's Deko Boko rice. I've spending these last, sweltering summer days weeding out the 'Hie' and 'Konagi' from the paddy, and sprinkling wood vinegar to keep the stink bugs away. Of course, I could never do all this by myself, I'm always helped out by my Takase friends.

It's been 4 years since we randomly met these guys, all because of a single translation job. As we worked through pages about the history of Yamadera, we learned about a small group of people in Takase who are keeping alive the traditional 'Shishi Odori' (Lion Dance), and we were keen to find out if they would could convince them to come to Deko Boko and teach it to our students. The style of Shishi Odori that is danced in Takase is known as the Karaogi Asahi Odori, and is considered to be a precious part of Yamagata's intagible cultural heritage.

There is no sheet music for the accompanying flute and drums, and no written instructions for how to perform this dance, instead it has been passed down orally from generation to generation. It would clearly be impossible to teach our children how to even try this very unique dance in a singe hour, so instead we asked if they would be willing to come and talk about the dance instead. Somehow, through a conversation about traditional dancing, we started talking about Benibana (Safflower), another Takase speciality, and before we knew it, we had been offered the chance to borrow some land and try our hands at growing Benibana with the professionals! That was 4 years ago, time really does fly...

Mr. Ujikawa, who taught us about the art of Shishi Odori, Mr. Inoue - who taught us the ins and outs of Benibana, and Mr. Murakami - the rice growing master, thank you! From the bottom of our hearts!

Mr. Ujikawa

Mr. Murakami

Mr. Inoue

The Takase Shishi Odori Group


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